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28 August 2016 |
Young people flirt and explore sexuality but this should always involve trust, respect and consent. Right relationships rely on trust, and the more sensitive something is then the greater the responsibility we have to protect people's dignity. It is concerning that some young men presume to exercise power so callously. In objectifying others and treating sex as a commodity, they betray the fundamental aspects of good relationships. Young women are not sexual commodities and young men are not entitled to request and circulate these kinds of intimate images.
03 August 2016 |
While snorkelling at Ningaloo, we had an underwater lesson, in Auslan, about tropical fish and coral. On a walk to Manning Gorge on the Gibb River Road, I explained the terms 'first' and 'third-person' narrators. As we strolled past boabs, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of each perspective. Kaitlyn's written four stories on the trip so far and she recalled which point of view she chose for each story, and why. I used to criticise parents who thought their kids too precious for school. Now, I'm not so sure.
05 July 2016 |
I heard many interesting and sad and funny stories from this wonderment of nuns, this intensity of nuns, this insistence of nuns, but the story that stays with me is the nun who talked to me about the 50, count them 50, years she spent as a kindergarten teacher, in four schools, two of them quite rural, one quite urban, and one, she said, in the furthest outskirts of the city, the place where immigrants and migrants and really poor people live, the place where the bus route ends.
07 April 2016 |
The school has been supportive, but in this data driven age even the finest teachers are compelled to teach to the vile Naplan tests. Dyslexic kids are put through unbelievable stress with these tests. If deaf kids were compelled to do listening examinations, there would be an outcry. I'm not sure if there's a difference. I'm also not sure if the ever narrowing scope of education can still accommodate students like my son, despite all the talk about diversity and differentiated learning.
19 January 2016 |
Six years ago my daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss. I was told by an early intervention centre not to sign with her. 'It may interfere with her spoken language development,' they said, though there's no research to support this claim. When she was three, I went against that advice and began studying Auslan. I enrolled my daughter in the bilingual preschool and she learned to sign better than me. She may well be part of the last generation of deaf children to sign in Australia.
19 January 2016 |
Last year, I was my son's main school-day carer. It was a year of which the second half was dominated by acts of terrorism around the world. For the first time I properly registered the fact that there were people on the planet who, given the opportunity, would kill the preppie and me because we didn't want the kind of world they wanted. I started to feel a presence looming over us. It wasn't a pleasant reality with which to engage. Nor, I soon realised, was it any way to live.
05 August 2015 |
It seems absurd to hold schools responsible for the way Shorten, Abbott, Joyce, Pyne and Hockey behave. Schools have influenced them in good and bad ways, but ultimately they are their own men. So we Jesuits have no call to apologise, nor to take pride. We are not responsible for them. But we are responsible to them, as we are responsible to all our alumni, even if they languish in public life or public prisons.
22 January 2015 |
We can sympathise with the university Vice-Chancellors who support fee deregulation. Over many years Government financial support for higher education has been eroded in real terms, and maintaining international rankings depends upon deregulation. But do we want the major metropolitan universities to return to the financial exclusivity that characterised the early history of Australian tertiary education?
07 August 2014 |
There's a view that most Australians, including the Prime Minister, still have poor speech skills, and that there ought to be some kind of standardised verbal communication skill-level as a prerequisite for politicians, educators and advocates. Personally I'm quite content with an Australia that is accepting of vocal particularities, the flexibility of meanings, and often humorous miscommunications.
24 July 2014 |
Christopher Pyne's proposed changes to tertiary education place many theological providers in an interesting situation. We have seen a number of theological colleges enter into relationships with universities to assist with their financial bottom line, in the face of falling support from their church constituencies. If private providers are to receive government funding directly, we could see some of these arrangements begin to fall apart.
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